I think it looks pretty good in that recent picture. Did you ride her? How did it feel? Could you check sweat marks? She is a very nice looking horse.
I rode her and it felt good. This makes for the 3rd time I've ridden in an aussie saddle, so I'm still getting used to it, but I really like it. It saved my butt today when she spooked at the biggest, scariest, meanest looking pile of poop in semi-tall grass that she'd ever seen
We were cantering and then suddenly, OH GOD A PILE OF POOP! And she did a sideways jump and landed in a canter, so that was pretty fancy.
We're still getting used to each other, and each day is a new day to learn that things that may seem scary really aren't...like piles of poop in a pasture. She also freaked out about the SHADOW of a little windmill that was maybe a foot in diameter. The windmill wasn't scary, but that spinning shadow on the ground was just too much to handle. We worked through it though
Anyway, I'm having a couple problems that perhaps someone could help me with.
1. I can't for the life of me get my stirrups to feel just right. I'm only 5'0 so I'm very small and have very short legs. I had my stirrups so that my legs were long, but then I wasn't keeping my seat at a trot very well, and I lost a stirrup, so I thought they were too long. So then I shortened them up a knotch and they felt more comfortable for sitting my trot, and I was able to keep my heels down. My legs weren't as long as in western though, but I felt better.
2. Once I had the stirrups shorter where I felt better, the problem is that the buckles that keep the proper hole rub on my shins. I currently have 2 very large green and purple bruises on my shins, because my cowgirl boots do not go high enough to protect me from the hardware. I asked for some paddock boots with equileather half chaps for Christmas to protect against the metal. Until then, I was thinking about getting some cheap leg warmers or something, and slipping them over the hardware on the stirrup itself.
3. The saddle pad I use has a neoprine (sp?) underside, and a friend said they can force a horse to sweat? Is this true? Since we cantered for maybe a collective minute, and mostly moseyed around the pasture, we didn't work up much of a sweat. She had a little sweat on her shoulders kind of where the flap of the saddle comes over her leg (know what I mean?) but other than that she was dry. Even the cinch area was dry. Is there supposed to be even sweat instantly, or is it more after just a good workout?
This weekend I'm going to tack her up and do lots of ground work with her, because she hasn't had groundwork in a while and I believe it is a good bonding experience and a good way for her to learn to trust me because I'm the boss. I think she'll have a good workout when we do that, and I'll be able to see how she moves in the saddle from the ground.
Any extra suggestions? I really appreciate all your help!